Tue, Feb 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet asks for review of new toll collection system

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet said yesterday that it expected a review and evaluation by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications about the new Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) at tomorrow's weekly Cabinet meeting.

"We ask [ministry officials] to do so because we want to make sure motorists' legal rights are well-protected," said Government Information Office Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦).

Cheng made his remarks in response to queries regarding public complaints about the new freeway collection system.

Cheng said Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has urged ministry officials to collect complaints or suggestions from the public ever since the ETC was launched last Friday, and to reflect upon those problems and then come up with solutions as soon as possible.

"We heard complaints and we would like to work things out for everybody as well," Cheng said.

There have been many complaints. These complaints are seen as a major obstacle for the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (遠通電收), the system's build-operate-transfer contractor, in reaching its first-year-of-operation goal of having more than 4 percent of frequent freeway users become ETC users.

Most complaints indicated it was unreasonable for motorists to have to pay for the installation of the on-board units (OBUs) and that the units, which are placed in the middle of the windshield, will disturb the driver's view and create safety problems.

Bus drivers also are boycotting the launch of the ETC because they said the system will increase their business costs since they have to pay for the OBUs.

The OBUs costs NT$1,180 (US$36) apiece, batteries included, while installation costs NT$175. A deposit of NT$200 is also required for the integrated circuit card in the OBU.

The present toll charge for a small car is NT$40, payable in cash, tokens or through the ETC system.

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